Episode 59 – Tales From Earthsea

We’re back! A dinosaur story! 2006’s Tales From Earthsea, directed by Gorō Miyazaki, is pretty loosely based on the Earthsea series of novels by Ursula K. LeGuin. Matt and Drew take their second trip into the world of Studio Ghibli and dissect the directorial debut of the founder’s son.

In its Disney-produced English dub, Tales From Earthsea featured the vocal talents of Timothy Dalton as Sparrowhawk; Willem Defoe as the whispering antagonist, Lord Cob; and Cheech Marin inexplicably doing the least Cheech-Marin-y voice ever as Hare.

The film draws upon plot elements from the Earthsea novels, The Farthest Shore (third book in the original trilogy) and Tehanu. However, it also incorporates elements from Hayao Miyazaki’s manga, The Journey Of Shuna, resulting in a very muddled pedigree for the story.

As early as the 1980s, Hayao Miyazaki was seeking permission from Ursula K. LeGuin to create an animated adaptation of Earthsea. LeGuin, unfamiliar with his work at the time, refused the offer. Years later, after becoming more well-versed in Miyazaki’s work, the author finally gave her blessing. By that time, Miyazaki was busy with Howl’s Moving Castle, so responsibility for Tales From Earthsea went to the next generation of the Miyazaki family.

While she praised the look of the resulting film, LeGuin was disappointed in the simplification of theme and the greater emphasis on physical violence.

Agree with our thoughts on Tales From Earthsea? Disagree? Let us know in this episode’s comments, or you can find us on Facebook or Twitter, @reelfantasycast.

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